How Hiring Team Members Can Give You the Freedom You Want in Your Agency

Hiring new team members is terrifying. In fact, if you’re not scared then you’re not doing it right. 

We have all experienced the overwhelming and sometimes paralysing fear of hiring new team members and what that means moving forward. 

The thing to remember is that the freedom you want in your agency can be found on the other side of that fear. 

Getting stuck in and developing processes toward achieving outcomes is great.

But you can’t stay IN your business forever! 

Agency owner of Static Shift, Mavericks Club member (and new dad!) Karl Thew joined me on the Agency Hour and shed some light on his journey to transforming his agency. Giving insight into the Agency Mavericks tools he used, the processes he implemented to completely transform both his agency and his life, and what that looks like for him now. 

But first…

Story Time with Uncle Troy

Settle in kiddies, and cast your mind back to 2007.

When I started out as a web designer and kind of ended up in business by accident, I was building websites for a few filmmaker friends of mine in Melbourne and doing some voice-over work in the post production industry where I then came across a couple of studios and became friends with the owners. 

They asked me to build them a website. Now, at the time I was only experimenting with Flash and Dreamweaver and they started offering to pay me to build them a real website. So I thought alright well I’ve got to figure this out. 

Pretty soon after that, I met my girlfriend Amy, who is now my beautiful wife. Her Godmother Chrissy Violet, who I love to bits, happened to be a business owner. 

One day we got talking business and I told her all about my new freelance web design business and she says ‘well you’ve gotta hire someone to help you, you can’t do it all by yourself’.

My response was “I’m not gonna, I don’t wanna, what are you talking about? You're a lunatic I’m not going to hire anyone that's craziness. I don’t want the responsibility, having to answer someone's questions and nurse them and be paying them, ensuring I make enough so they don’t go broke. Now that is just stupid talk I don't wanna do that.”

I’m thinking I just wanna sit behind my computer and play with WordPress for the rest of my life and hopefully earn enough to live in a caravan. 

That was pretty much my level of ambition at this point. 

And Chrissy says to me “listen son, let me tell you something, go and put up some posters at the local university, hire some interns, get some help. Otherwise, you will burn out and you will never get off the treadmill. And it's a horrible experience.” 

And of course, I didn't listen to her until a couple of years later when I finally started delegating to other people and outsourcing work to developers elsewhere. And so, I started to build my agency. 

Now, I made many mistakes along the way, believe you me and every time I hired someone in those early days it was absolutely terrifying. And it wasn't because I thought they were going to be terrible or that they couldn’t do the job, it was simply because I didn’t know what I was doing, I had no process for hiring someone and managing them. I just wanted them to get on with it and start producing amazing outcomes. 

Let’s normalise being a little scared!! 

I just want everyone to know that it is okay to be absolutely terrified of hiring someone. It's perfectly normal to feel that way.

If you're starting out and you're not a little bit nervous about hiring someone new then you're doing it wrong. You should be a little scared. 

In fact, it's that fear that you can harness as the energy that will propel you forward to make the decision. 

Karl’s Journey to Mavericks Club

Karl joined Mavericks Club around November of last year when he'd been running on the treadmill for quite some time. He has an agency called Static Shift that focuses on web design and SEO for coaches and course creators.

The business was going through some good growth a few years prior after he did a few business courses with some high profile coaches who were giving general advice, but he struggled to adapt some of the concepts to his industry and its challenges. After a year or so of trying to level up, and with a baby on the way he decided he needed to make some big changes, or forever be stuck on the treadmill. 

Karl has an amazing relationship with his partner and the only thing that ever caused friction in the relationship has been the business. We’ve all been there! 

The long nights, the workload and the stress that comes from that was taking Karl out of his life because he was so in his agency. 

So much so that he found himself constantly trying to convince her (and himself) that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, feeling like he was always taking one step forward and two steps back even though revenue was increasing but not steadily.

Finding himself spending more and more time in the business Karl couldn't seem to free himself from that cycle. He thought, there’s gotta be a way out. Hoping to have a life after 5 p.m. while still successfully running his own business.

In Comes the Agency Mavericks SWAT Team

Karl had been following us, havin’ a little stalk for 5-6 years. He had read our content, listened to the podcast and thought of us straight away when looking for a coach that actually knew agencies. So he jumped on the website and into the Facebook group and something just felt right. (When you know, you know, right?)

After a few messages back and forth with one of our team members Karl was certain that we were the right coaches for him and was interested in learning what we thought the right path was for his agency moving forward. He jumped on a call, and next thing he knew he was a Maverick and things were changing.

Cast Your Minds Back to the Four Truths 

A few weeks back on our podcast we talked about the four truths. These are the four things that somebody needs to agree to or the four truths that somebody needs to believe in order to buy from you. 

Karl’s experience is clear proof of how this process went down in a really organic way. The four truths are:

  1. That the prospect needs to agree that they have a problem. 
  2. The problem is worth solving now.
  3. They can't do it themselves.
  4. That you are the right person to help them.

Karl had already made that decision, he already believed those four truths and reached out to us, so then it was a conversation about:

  • Where to start 
  • What's the next step 
  • What do we do from here 

I’d like to take a moment to add here that Karl wasn't exactly a stranger to us, he'd been following us for about 5 years and consuming our content which is even more evidence to support that putting out great, free, helpful content nurtures people and builds a lot of trust. 

Karl’s Team Before Mavericks Club

When he first became a Maverick, Karl had an SEO manager, two assistants, a couple of developers and a copywriter. He found that despite having a team, things weren't really working the way they should be. He knew that there were issues but was scared of hiring someone new. 

This fear stemmed from a number of things:

  • Not having a process to recruit and hire new team members.
  • Not having the time to properly train new team members.
  • Being nervous that the new hire wouldn't be able to meet expectations or deliver to a high standard.

Like so many in their agency, Karl new things needed to change but the idea was overwhelming!

Da da da daaaaaaaa SWAT. 

After going through the Agency GPS scorecard exercise with us, he realised that there were a lot of areas where his business was lacking. This was transformational because it showed him exactly where he needed to improve so he could start mapping out what the issues were, what he needed to do, and how to get there!

Karl actually got off a call where the main discussion had been about ‘getting time back’. This would require him to block out certain chunks of time in his calendar for specific tasks, setting a start and finish time within which to complete tasks. He’s sitting there thinking well great yeah that all sounds good in theory, but I don't know if I can make that happen there never seems to be enough time. 

But much to his surprise he started to turn it around and made an effort to stick to his finish times, and if the work didn't get done by 6 p.m. that night then it was tomorrow's job. 

He realised that sticking to a cut-off time actually made him work faster to meet his deadline – thereby forcing him to become more productive and time efficient by implementing this strategy to his workflow! 

Actually allocating less time to work then sticking to it, means you fill that time with the work.

But if you allocate until midnight and fill that time with work, you'll likely be less productive because in your mind you have more time, so you don’t focus on knocking out the important stuff. 

Biggest Learning Moments Through the Process

What were the biggest game changers?

Learning to have a process for not only recruiting and interviewing candidates, but also for choosing candidates. An understanding of the processes to undertake in determining competency and whether their skill set matched the outcomes required, if someone is a good culture fit for the team and lastly, their level of commitment to the role. 

Having a process to follow when undertaking the hiring process eliminated the guesswork and took the fear out of scaling his business. *Hooray* We love to hear it. 

Team Accelerator Blueprint

Sometimes our tendency is to hire on availability and not ability. I'm sure many of us have done that in the past and probably get caught in that trap more often than we’d like due to fear of the hiring process. There are a bunch of awesome mechanisms in the Team Accelerator Blueprint that enable you to validate your gut instinct in addition to a breakdown of the entire process from start to finish.

And guys eventually, you can get to a point where you don't have to be in all of those interviews and you can trust other team members to assess whether a potential hire is a good fit culturally, competency wise and assess their commitment level. 

In fact I would actually encourage delegation of the hiring process. This is so that multiple team members can get a feel for the candidate and make an informed decision. We’re all so different, right! My type of personality and what might be a good cultural fit for me might not necessarily be a good cultural fit for someone else.

In my world, it’s really important that other team members do those first couple of interviews, and then I come in at the end and go okay you guys think we’re onto a winner here, cool I’ll just come in and have a quick chat and see if this person aligns with what we need after they’ve gone through those first stages of our hiring process. 

What’s Next for Static Shift? 

After taking a few weeks off to spend with his fiance and their newborn (which he didn’t think was possible when he first joined us), and aside from soaking up all the magic in his bubble of becoming a new dad, Karl is working on some exciting new product development, and he’s actually sold a few products he hasn’t actually created yet! – living in the future Karl. 

Moving forward, the business will also be looking at running some more ads to elevate lead generation and engage multiple sources that will translate into recurring revenue, as well as continuing to grow his team. 

Wrap Up

We talked a lot about revenue and we talked a lot about growth and all of that great stuff, because that's a great barometer for measuring how the business is going. But seeing the impact that the work we do has on our members and how it impacts our community, the change that it facilitates in their businesses and in their lives is the reason we get out of bed everyday. 

Karl shared at the end of the podcast a very special thank you from his fiance – she had thought he might even be working while she was in labour and wouldn't be around enough for the birth of their child! She is deeply appreciate of what we have done for their family. Balance has been restored. 

It has been so rewarding for the whole team to see Karl go on this journey and get to this place. That’s what it’s all about. 

Joining Mavericks Club has been completely transformative for Karl not only in his business but in his personal life and it’s amazing to see. He has been able to free himself enough from his agency to get his life back and spend more time with his family. 

Hiring is scary, not hiring is scarier

Request a call with us here and yourself in a position to be more present in your own life and watch your agency soar! 

The Agency Hour Podcast

Check out the episode of The Agency Hour related to this blog.

Episode 38:

Afraid to build your team? YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID! That’s right – If you aren’t scared you aren’t doing it right. BUT on the other side of that fear is the freedom that you want in your Agency.

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Troy Dean

I am the Founder of Agency Mavericks. The reason I get out of bed every day is because I love helping people to grow their web design or digital marketing businesses. I do this through coaching, creating courses, speaking, consulting and heading up our awesome community.

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